Archbishop's Homilies 2008

Blessing of the Yarra Valley Mausoleum and Stations of the Cross, Lilydale Cemetery

BLESSING OF THE YARRA VALLEY MAUSOLEUM AND STATIONS OF THE CROSS AT LILYDALE CEMETERY
CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART ON FRIDAY 14 NOVEMBER 2008 AT 5PM.

INTRODUCTION

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am honoured to be present with the Committee of the Lilydale Cemeteries Trust for the blessing of the Yarra Valley Mausoleum and Stations of the Cross.  The way of the cross leads us to meditate upon the life of Our Lord, who died and rose to give us life.  We live in the strong faith of eternal life for those whom we love and for ourselves.  We underline the respect and honour we owe to our dead.  We are one with the cemetery authorities and so many friends in blessing this special place of remembrance and prayer.

The European custom of mausolea shows us that people are not lost to us when they die.  The love we had for them in life, the remembrance that we make now, the prayers that we offer, are all a sign that everything we have has been received from others who have gone before.

May this place be a haven of light, peace and remembrance of the goodness of those who have passed from this life.

 
HOMILY

"We want you to be quite certain brothers about those who have died, to make sure that you do not grieve about them, like the other people who have no hope.  We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and that it will be the same for those who have died in Jesus:  God will bring them with him." (1Thessalonians 4:13-14)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The blessing of this mausoleum made possible by the generosity of the authorities of Lilydale Cemetery is an important focal point in our understanding of death.  We are aware that when we die we come face to face with God, who will accept the choice we have made according to the good or evil that we have done in the body and our persevering intentions concerning that.

So many of the people buried here in this mausoleum will be loved parents and relatives, whose goodness has shone out and for whom we remember and pray with undying affection.  Indeed, in a Christian vision of death those loved ones whom we have lost have passed through death to life.  Our hope is in eternal life for them and that is why we can pray for them, just as we hope too that one day we will be reunited.

The ability to visit the mausoleum, to remember so many personal, small or larger things about them, is an invitation to us to see the value of remembrance as a means of thanking them for all that they have been and are to us and how their memory and their gifts inspire us and occasionally challenge us, but also to fulfil our primary Christian duty of praying for them that they may be freed from their sins and come swiftly to be with God.

It is most appropriate that we gather to make the way of the cross and to come and pray for our loved ones.  These unite us with Jesus in his desire that we may have life and remind us of the power of prayer for our own lives.

We know that God is all-perfect.  Nothing imperfect can come to be with God.  After death in the time of our preparation or purgatory we depend upon the prayers, love and charity of our brothers and sisters who remain behind and with whom we wish to be reunited in the kingdom of heaven.

This mausoleum made possible by the generosity of the cemetery authorities is that place of charity.  People are no longer dead, lost, forgotten.  Rather they have passed through death and into life supported by our prayers.  We remember their goodness and we thank our generous and merciful God for all that they did, so that we might successfully continue our journey and like them pass through death to life when our inevitable call comes.

So for all who are buried here or who will be buried here we pray:  Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon them.  May they rest in peace.  Amen.

+ Denis J. Hart,
Archbishop of Melbourne